Spotlight On: Michael Hayes, Wilde International

Welcome to another installment of my Spotlight On series - where each week I will be bringing you words of wisdom directly from the people who have set up, or are just starting, their own businesses!

This week I have been speaking to Michael Hayes, who is also from my home city of York! I have actually had the pleasure of meeting Micheal in person and can confirm that he is exactly as direct and instantly likable as he sounds below.

His no-bullshit approach is also breath of fresh air in an industry which can often be filled with overblown and frankly condescending characters. I fundamentally believe that a lot of success in life comes from your own attitude and how you interact with others. I'm excited to see what happens as Michael progresses, as he certainly has the winning combination of charisma and self belief. 

 I think his advice below about not being ashamed of having a second job is absolutely spot on! Throughout my time being self employed, I have taken a multitude of different jobs, including scrubbing toilets and pouring pints. Doing something else alongside building your business isn't a sign of weakness, it's evidence of strength of mind, drive and real commitment!

So on to the interview...


So... Wilde International? Please explain!

We make movies. That is what we do. You want it made and you want it made well. Online video, feature film, or a commercial we can make it and we’ll make it in such a way that people will want to watch it. Sounds simple and that’s because we made it that way. We just want our customers to get the most from what we make them. That’s it.

Why did you start?

Let me be frank, I’m hardly inspirational, I’d barely call myself an entrepreneur! I only became one because the job market was shit. Though I don’t think that’s a bad thing, because I think that could be a symptom of the way the world is changing. 

However, yes there is a story, it started in December 2014. I joined Plastic Fortune (which you should go visit) with Ben Porter to try and connect the creative scene in York. Fast forward 10 months, we’d worked with worlds biggest whiskey company, learnt a lot and Plastic Fortune was changing form and it didn't really need me for what it was going to do. 

However I’d dipped my toe into the world of making video and the job market couldn't offer up anything more adventurous for a 22 year old to do. So myself and gentleman called Jack Spring (A film director who is the first since Orson Welles to direct a film worth over $1 million before the age of 20) set up Wilde International.

Have you had any setbacks and have you learnt anything from them?

Apart from my personal finances suffering from time to time, none particularly stick out. I never expected it to be easy or for things to get so far. I always expected that at some point someone would put a stop to it all and say “What are you doing here? Get out.” So everyday feels like a bonus.

What is the single achievement that you are most proud of and how did you manage it?

Working with Jack Daniels was pretty cool. I basically picked up the phone/e-mail/facebook and got to work. I don’t want to say I managed it all on my own because I didn’t, I had the right people around me that enabled us to do all this cool stuff.

If you could start again, what (if anything!) would you do differently?

    I want to say; not go to university because the debt you accrue doing it is crazy and maybe it’s more useful if you go when you’re older. Then again it taught me some pretty useful skills and I’d miss getting to live in my beloved Newcastle and as a Newcastle United fan that was great. So it’s hard to say.

What would be your number one tip for someone thinking about starting their own venture?

Have a healthy disrespect for how the world currently is and not to sound like some self-help book but believe in yourself. Honestly anyone or anything can stand in your way if you let it, so make sure you can believe in your education and commitment to what you are doing. In the words of Shia LaBeouf just do it, honestly I cannot express how malleable the world is, if you force the issue. 

As a side note too if you have to work a second job that people for one reason or another look down upon or question your commitment. You have to totally fuck what those people think. I worked in a toolshop for the longest time. Nothing will help you find out what you want to do and drive you towards it like doing something you totally despise.

Do you have any big projects / plans for 2016 that we should know about?

I am a producer on a feature film set in Yorkshire, you’ll know more when we can reveal!

Additional tip for starting out:

Find music you love, its a long slog to even get to a company launch so make sure you’ve got something to keep you inspired and keep your mind ticking over. I used to have Monday morning playlist when I was driving to the tool shop at 5 in friggin’ morning. Because that was total shit and I needed something to fire me up. One off recommendation for ‘Whatever’ by Oasis.

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